LCF welcomed colleagues from Florida Zoos and Aquariums for a professional development seminar, “What are You Looking At”: Designing a Behavioral Monitoring Project. Special thanks to Katie Leighty, Ph.D., Research Manager, and Gina Ferrie, Research Associate, from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Gina and Katie helped us conduct the workshop, and Katie also gave an informative presentation on techniques to monitor zoo animals. We really appreciate their generous help and support and for sharing their professional expertise with everyone who attended.
Animal Husbandry professionals from Florida Zoos and Aquariums came from as far as far away as Panama City – that’s a 6 hour drive to LCF! Participants came to learn simple behavioral monitoring methods and how they can help answer a variety of husbandry questions. The techniques can be used to monitor animals during introductions, determine the effectiveness of enrichment or training, or to establish behavioral monitoring programs for in-situ conservation projects.
Katherine Leighty, Ph.D., Research Manager at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, made a presentation on the steps of setting up and implementing behavioral observations, such as how to develop an ethogram and how to determine the most efficient and effective way to collect and summarize behavior to answer animal husbandry and management questions.
For the hands-on portion of the workshop participants had a chance to work in groups to develop a project to address a specific management issue, and then implemented their project by monitoring lemurs at the reserve. They also learned how to track animals using radio telemetry.